Writer’s Block Broke

The synopsis for the third Vineyard Pleasures Series novel has been done for months. So has another full outline of another novel and several other lengthy summaries I intend to write.

They’ve sat collecting metaphorical dust in my Mac—scenes swirling around in my mind like dust cloud induced nightmares, clawing at my thoughts to take form and flow from my fingertips.

But today…today I began to write again after an epic stint in the stagnant hell of writer’s block.

I cultivated a moment the old fashioned way—pen and paper.

My vision—a crackling bonfire, their laughter slipping into the crisp wind like raindrops pelting against the sea, the campsite canopied by ancient stars swirling above them in an orderly procession, an expedition just beginning, his intrigue, her willingness to share….

The scene wrapped around another story that captured my own imagination once upon a time. My words tumbled out of the void, and I was able to write them down. Finally.

{Exhale}

Along Came Summer … and Went

… So here’s what went down …

I woke up to my first day of summer vacation doubled over in pain, asking my husband to rush me to the ER. Twelve hours later, I was back home minus one very grumpy appendix.

Recovery was miserable.

Not just because my stomach was a wall of black and blue and my guts were on fire, but because the pain meds I had to take to manage my agony were all too effective.

In fact, they were blatant productivity killers … devious minions of mind scramble … wasters of time … and suckers of all energy.

Little assholes—that’s what they were.

During those few weeks of mindlessness, I spent hours nodding off and on in between blank stares at all the home improvement and cooking shows on TV. I might’ve even skimmed through all the click bait on Facebook on my cell because, apparently, when I’m forced to be lazy, I just have to know what all those Amazon products are that have a cult following. That’s about all my mind was capable of.

Sad, I know.

The next thing I knew, I was sleeping on sheets 40k reviewers insisted I needed to buy, and I began to blame those velvety cool sheets for making me wake up well into the afternoon each day. That, and the frickin’ coma causers, I mean, pain meds.

Then, when I ditched the pain meds in lieu of regaining mental clarity again despite my stomach pains, I fell down the black hole of Netflix Rom-Coms.

Yep. And another chunk of my summer vacation broke free and drifted away.

I kept telling myself that it was writerly research to be watching movie after movie, but really, who am I kidding.

Before summer began, I had a plan. A summer writing schedule to be exact. And I was becoming the ultimate shirker of my author responsibilities all because one of my organs decided to jump ship. But, alas, note the word in that last sentence … was.

I eventually dug my head out of the proverbial sand once I was fresh out of excuses, including being pain-free naturally—yay me—and I finally wrote something.

Hi there, you’re reading what I wrote.

I sat on this post for about a week, though, and got sidetracked again. Only in a good way. The culprit–new romance book releases. Writers read, and, if they don’t, they should. So that detour did count as productivity, and it ignited my desire to get on task.

Long story short, with just a few weeks to spare on my vacation, I finally pulled together my full outline for WINE NOT? over the last few days—the novel that I was supposed to start writing before appendectomy-gate.

The new plan … to keep moving forward and knock out my third Rom-Com in my Vineyard Pleasures Series one day at a time, even if my summer is slipping away. Then I’ll just reconfigure my writing time once I begin teaching again in August. I’m all out of expendable organs to slow me down, so onward I roll.

I’m thrilled with the new plot! This love story centers around Victoria L’Angevin, Julien’s younger sister. Unlike her family of vintners, Tori is an Archaeologist heading out on a crazy quest to find love among Norse ruins. I am beyond excited to begin this new adventure with her!

Fiction Writing Journal and Workbook (Review)

If you’re a hands-on person and you’re starting from scratch as a newbie writer or you need to capture and organize all your random thoughts and scribbles to prepare to write your next novel, then Robin Woods’ Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook is meant for you.

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Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook by Young Adult author, Robin Woods, is organized with a reasonable, progressive flow to construct your novel, yet it’s easy to navigate back and forth between sections to suit your writing approach.

It’s full of all kinds of writerly information, graphic organizers, worksheets, and plenty of room for journaling to get your novel up and running.

So …

I recently decided to quell a trilogy plan I had been working on for a while that accompanied the current novel I’m querying. (Yep, I’m still hanging in there.) Instead, I am pressing forward with a sequel that can function as a stand-alone by branching a new love story from two minor characters in the first novel. In other words, I’m going with a two-part series.

My reasoning for this big change is because the premise for the third novel is just too exciting to keep it waiting, and the guts of the second novel could, with a little nip and tuck, easily serve up an overall better plot if I use that premise as the inciting moment and just move on.

Enter Robin Woods’ Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook.

It happened to be a happy accident that I was ready to delve into making sense of my independent sequel (is that even a term??) simultaneous to my long-time friend offering me a free copy of her workbook. Yes, you read that right, we’re friends, for, like, decades.

So …

Instead of just reading through the informational parts of the workbook and blasting an unbiased review all over the Internet once I’d finished (no doubt garnering some eye rolls and tsks or wonderings about whether friends ever really give friends ‘honest reviews’), I thought I’d show how I actually used the workbook and prove why I give it the maximum stars.

You see …

I have all these colorful spiral notebooks—a stack of them to be exact, and they have all kinds of disorderly information in them that, when pulled apart and mixed around, make perfect sense to me. Character studies, setting notes, plot points—you name it—and somewhere in my stack of madness there might actually be a method to this budding new sequel I want to pursue.

In addition to my teetering stack of stuff n’ stuff full of all kinds of random this n’ that I have accumulated over the last year, I also have lots of tidbits on my iPhone in the Notes App full of my thoughts-on-the-go, and I even have two Word Docsx outlines I had once planned for the trilogy plus oodles of rough draft writing to boot.

In other words, I’m hands-on and all over the place when I prepare to write. I just am.

And …

I was in need of a singular place to vet and compile before typing everything up into a functioning outline because I was dying to get this WIP rolling in the right direction.

Can you see how it was destiny? My mess and Robin Woods’ workbook were made for each other.

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I was not kidding when I said BIG stack. 

HUGE.

Just look at it. ———————————>

All kinds of random going on in that mess. Two books’ worth of ideas that I needed to boil down into one poignant, romantic plot …

… Then this happened.

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I found this workbook satisfied my need to write things down in a journal. Don’t get me wrong—I love using my laptop for all parts of the writing process—but this workbook helped me scratch that itch to put pencil on paper, so that I could compile my final outline. The fact that it has everything I need in graphic organizers to help me reel in the stack of madness makes this workbook the bomb.

Here’s a peek at the table of contents to give you a better idea of what the book contains to help you organize your future best seller:

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Robin Woods’ website, http://www.robinwoodsfiction.com, also contains lots of helpful information for writers of all genres. She’s a YA author of The Watcher Series and has six novels and one work of non-fiction under her belt. Definitely, check out her site, and, if you like a hands-on approach to organizing your fiction ideas, her book is the tool you need.